RAG Meetings

Group observing 29th November RAG

Well, it was a very cold night but great fun, with loads of people taking part. I managed to get some quite pretty Orion shots.

Setup was SW 102 F5 refractor with a T2 to 2″ adaptor containing a 2″ Optolong UHC filter connected to an EOS 750D camera. This is the processing of the first of 3 sets of subs that I took. I like the colours. The pictures of the scopes were taken with iPhone 7 and NightCap app

I enjoyed the evening and it was nice to see some many members, and non-members involved

Peter Bolas Lecture & Chairman’s Certificates 18/10/2019

This meeting featured RAG’s annual Peter Bolas Memorial Lecture given by guest speaker Dr. Martin Braddock, talking about: the challenges facing astronauts for prolonged and deep space travel and the need for space medicine. The lecture was very exciting and kept us pinned to our seats!

After the lecture, Martin and Andrew (Chair of RAG) gave out the RAG Chairman’s Awards to members of our group who have made a significant contribution to the work of RAG.

Andy

Dr. Martin Braddock’s lecture:

                    

Martin and Andrew (Chair of RAG) give out the Chairman’s Awards 2019:                                

Martin and Andrew:  

Nightworld at Rosliston Forestry Centre 26/7/2019

Many members of RAG attended Nightworld tonight at Rosliston Forestry Centre. This annual event is open to the public and involves astronomy, bat walls, moths, and a variety of other night time science and conversation activities.

Thanks to Damian who provided transport for me following my operation, I was also able to attend and had a great time!

Many members of the public also learnt about telescopes and astronomy c/o RAG, also cloud and drizzle prevented any actual observing of the night sky. I wonder if a subscription to an online telescope service would be a good idea to give us some access to the night sky during these events even when it is cloudy or rains? One for the future to consider.

Andy

RAG Monthly meeting 28/6/2019

Our June ‘End of Month’ Meeting, this next Friday, 28th, has a ‘double bill’ in terms of Guest Speakers. The room was virtually full to capacity with folks sat on the tables at the back as well as on the chairs.

The beginning of the evening saw the return of Dr Martin Braddock. Many of RAG Members responded to his request for our ideas about the Five Challenges for the colonisation of Mars. Indeed, one of our Mid-Month Meetings held a discussion that produced a plethora of ideas to add to individual replies. Heather sent all these to Martin, who has now collated all his results from a number of Astro Societies. He came along to share with us the results – what is it that amateur astronomers think are the biggest issues facing potential colonisers on Mars? Martin is an exciting and knowledgeable speaker and he expertly addressed a number of questions from the floor afterwards, including some from yours truly!

After the coffee break, our very own Lee Bale continued with his series of talks on stars. Tonight, our brains got stretched somewhat as we tried to grasp how a nebulous cloud contracts into stars that join the main sequence on the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. It involved learning about four different nuclear fusion pathways……..

Two excellent speakers – my only concern is that we are raising the bar on quality of talks so high that I ask how can we maintain it in the future?

Andy

Dr Martin Braddock:

   

Lee Bale:

 

Guest speaker at RAG tonight 31/5/2019 – ‘Hunting Out Young Stars Project – Citizen Science’ (Dr Dirk Froebrich, Univ. of Kent)

May 31st 2019 – Guest speaker @ RAG ( DF) – ‘Hunting Out Young Stars Project – Citizen Science’ (Dr Dirk Froebrich, Univ. of Kent).

Brilliant lecture tonight from Dr Dirk Froebrich – who drove all the way up from the University of Kent. His Talk was on the Citizen Science Project ‘Hunting Out Young Stars’ – HOYS-CAPS. The concept is fascinating, and has tempted some of us to assist Dr Froebrich and his Team, by contributing to their research – uploading our photos of the night sky.
Contact details for the team can be seen in the photos below from the lecture tonight.

Andy

         

Observing Log 29/3/2019 @ 20:40 @ 30/3/2019 @ 01:30, Rosliston Forestry Centre, Swadlincote.

Observing Log 29/3/2019 @ 20:40 @ 30/3/2019 @ 01:30, Rosliston Forestry Centre, Swadlincote.

Andrew Thornett

Last night was AGM night at RAG and, after the AGM, we experienced one of those incredible nights – a clear sky that had been predicted all week so that many of us came prepared with telescopes, coats and hats, the latter two probably being the more important as the temperature dropped as the evening wore on!

Those RAG members who went outside to observe included Lee, Rob Leonard (with Sam and James), Nick Rufo/ Bob Williams, Angella and Alan, Ed/ Dave/ Chris Howe/ Chris Ford/ David Dugmore/ Adam/ Roger/Jon Pendleton/ Geoff/ Paul B / Paul Simkins /Pete Simkin /two new Members – Darren and new member Martin (Martin stayed right till the end), Heather, Neil Wyatt and myself.

Neil had bought along a whole imaging setup which was taking subs all night of a variety of targets and provided quite a talking point for astrophotographers and non astrophotographers alike. It still left him plenty of time to observe with the rest of us.

For me, observing started with an ISS pass over the forestry centre, observed from the car park behind the seminar room where we held the AGM. I wish I had bought along my hand held amateur radio to see if we could hear any of the astronomers on the ISS – sometimes they will speak to schools and other groups by ham radio.

I bought along my trusty Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 80mm scope, as it is difficult for me to fit anything bigger in the car on Fridays these days – now that I cart two six foot lads and their kit to school daily and my car boot is full of medical examination equipment. Sadly, there was no time for me to go home and collect a scope after work before RAG started. Although this scope is a trusted workhorse, and I had a great view of the Beehive Cluster through it, last night was not the night of small scopes but a time for the big Dobsonian light buckets. I could not see any galaxies in the Virgo cluster with my small scope last night – contrast this with Rob’s scopes below….

Rob Leonard bought along his 8 inch Sky Watcher Dob, in my view the best value telescope available new in the UK today, and we observed M51, M65 and M66, and M81 and M82, in that telescope. Rob also found clusters in Auriga, amongst others. I was quite proud to have found the Owl Nebula using this scope and my OIII filter. At this time of the night, this object was very faint.

The evening was initially partially cloudy but it cleared around midnight and for those of us that stayed the fun then really began. Rob erected his USA Orion 14 inch Dob and this scope was simply fantastic. It became a galaxy feist – I found nine galaxies within two fields of view around M86/Markarian’s Chain within a few seconds and the issue became identifying which was which. I could see the third NGC galaxy in the M65/M66 trio, Rob found the Sombero Galaxy, the Needle Galaxy and the Black Eye Galaxy. He even showed us the core of M101 – a very difficult object indeed to find.

I really just congratulate Rob on his excellent scopes and on his impressive star hopping abilities. This particular Orion USA Dob is an intelliscope version that he purchased second hand without intelliscope digital setting circle so he does rely currently on his abilities and as the above list shows it does not stop him at all!

I had to leave at 01:30 am due to commitments the following day but I left Rob and Neil with their scopes, continuing to observe and image the night sky. I wonder what great sights they saw after I left?

Andy